‘No reduction’ in township services for Montgomery residents

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The Montgomery Township Committee adopt 2023 municipal budget with tax increase

Montgomery Township residents will not see any reduction in township services with the Township Committee’s adoption of a $35.1 million municipal budget for 2023.

Mayor Devra Keenan, Deputy Mayor Neena Singh, Committeewoman Patricia Todd, Committeeman Vincent Barragan, and Committeeman Dennis Ahn voted unanimously to adopt the budget at the governing body’s May 4 meeting.

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Montgomery will continue to maintain current services within the township as there will be no reduction in services, according to Township Chief Financial Officer Michael Pitts.

The municipal budget was first introduced to the governing body and public on April 6.

The budget’s projected tax rate for property owners is 45.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which is a 1.7-cent increase from 2022.

An owner of an average assessed home at $506,228 will pay $2,298 in municipal taxes.

Municipal taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes Montgomery Township School District taxes and Somerset County taxes.

The amount an individual pays in taxes is determined by the assessed value of his or her home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

The $35.1 million budget for 2023 has increased by $5.2 million from the previous year’s municipal budget of about $30 million.

The large increase in this year’s budget is due to the $5 million in grants the township is expected to receive.

Montgomery residential and commercial property owners support the appropriations through a tax levy, which totals $18.2 million.

The major cost increases for this year include: $847,000 in annual debt related to a 2022 bond for capital for 2017-20, $300,000 reserve in uncollected taxes, $245,000 in police contractual salaries, $134,000 in statutory police pension costs, and $47,000 in vehicle maintenance, according to the budget presentation.

On the revenue side, Montgomery will use $4.1 million from the surplus as revenue in the budget.

Other revenues include: $5 million in grants, $1.46 million in state aid, which increased by more than $81,000 from the amount of aid received in 2022, $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan funding, $1.1 million from uniform construction code fees, $820,000 from receipts from delinquent taxes, $760,000 of Open Space Trust Fund debit service, $642,478 from fees and permits, and $191,287 from shared service agreements.

On the appropriations side, the budget will fund appropriations that include $5.5 million on municipal debt service.

Additional appropriations include $5 million in grants, $3.8 million for the police department, $3 million towards insurance, $1.7 million towards road repair and maintenance, $1.6 million on utilities, $1.46 million to reserve for uncollected taxes, $1.2 million for police and fireman’s retirement system of New Jersey, $543,000 toward engineering, $350,000 for legal services, and $196,000 towards shared service agreements.

The majority of the budget consists of salary, debt, utilities, liability, benefits and the social security taxes account.

The township’s capital budget for the year will address annual road and sidewalk projects; demolition of the old municipal building; park improvements; parks electric equipment replacements; and computer, network, server upgrades and maintenance.

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